The Center was saddened to learn of the passing of Rebecca “Becky” Hunkins on Oct. 23, 2021 in Hollywood. Becky was the daughter of Eleanor Magee, a retired music teacher from Pennsylvania who was the inspiration behind the opening of the Art and Culture Center/Hollywood in 1975.
Born in 1928 in Fairview, Penn., Becky was a resident of Hollywood when Eleanor chaired the City’s Art and Culture Committee. She spearheaded a group that identified the Center’s original location, at 1301 S. Ocean Drive, as a viable arts center.
“She’s the one, with others, who went to commission meetings and begged them to get [that] building,” Becky said in an interview in 2015 for the Center’s 40th anniversary publication. “They were trying to go anywhere they could to find a home for the Center. She didn’t say it was a cultural wasteland. She said it just lacks any cultural facilities whatsoever.”
In her interview, Becky recalled her mother being among the chief organizers of the City-sponsored Seven Lively Arts festival held annually in Young Circle Park beginning in 1960. Seven Lively Arts featured music, visual arts, and dance performances at a time when Hollywood’s population grew from 35,237 in 1960 to 121,400 in 1975.
“Every year, summer or spring, there would be seven nights of the arts in Young Circle,” said Becky, a South Florida resident for 70 years. “That’s where my mother met all the artists and decided we needed a museum.”
Becky was born in the same room in the house that her mother was born in 1896. Eleanor died in 1986. Before passing, Becky requested that donations be made in her name to the Art and Culture Center/Hollywood, and/or to the Music Club of Hollywood and Tunnel to Towers Foundation.
“We’re honored that Becky has included the Center among her favored charities,” said Joy Satterlee, the Center’s Executive Director. “We hold a special place in our hearts for Becky. It’s due to Becky’s mother, Eleanor Magee, that the Art and Culture Center exists. We are forever grateful for both Becky’s and Eleanor’s longstanding belief that the arts are an essential component to a vibrant community such as Hollywood.”